Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

to me.

be torn down, and beautiful dwellings which lay before them being shaded by erected." “Yes, and if this were the spreading elms and tall poplars. The sun United States," replied my incorrigible shone brightly down upon this lovely valfriend, “every tree would be cut down. ley. A rustic picture was there. Some Those cottages, which, when seen from a old men sat smoking their pipes before distance, are so romantic, would give place an ale-house; a blacksmith was shoeing a to unsightly two-story houses, and cotton horse in front of his shop, and while I factories would line the banks of this looked, a group of laughing merry children lovely river.”

· burst from a little thatched school-house, On the following day my friend told me and the whole village at once resounded that there was one place to which I must with their shoutsgo, for in his opinion it was the gem of Aca- “Sweet Auburn-loveliest village of the plain! * dia. We rode toward the village of Lower I muttered half unconsciously. Horton, which was about four miles away. “Sweet Auburn! Yes, you may well The scenery along the road was very fine, call it so," replied my friend, “and whenand the country was in a good state of ever I ride down this hill that line occurs cultivation. We ascended a hill which lay in the way. On arriving at the sum- “This village was the principal home mit, I gazed around, and the scene which of the Acadians, though none of their met my view was such as baffles all de- houses remain. That wide plain yonder scription. Beneath us lay a broad ex- is Grand Pré. Look ahead a few milespanse of dike land, waving with luxuri- there is the Gaspereaux's mouth. That is ant vegetation, intersected by roads, and the spot where the vessels anchored. winding streams, whose banks were Down this road came the long train of adorned in many places by groves and weeping exiles, as they went to those long rows of trees. On one side the ships which were to carry them for ever plain was protected from the water by a from their homes." There was a short long island which arose,-a natural dike, pause, and my friend continued, “You through the green groves of which peeped will find scattered through Nova Scotia forth white cottages and barns. In the many such places as this, and if you exdistance the blue Basin of Minas ap- tend your journey to the other province, peared, encircled with its lofty rugged you will meet with villages, where to the cliffs, among which the ever-present Blom- beauty of landscape, and romantic situaidon' towered highest. I turned away, tion, are united the simple manners and unable to express my admiration. But primitivo hospitality of the Acadians." this was not all. Glancing down the hill “No, my friend," replied I, warmly, there appeared another scene, which I had this province has no place equal in innot before noticed. In the valley lay the terest to Horton, for our Longfellow has village of Lower Horton; the small and rendered it immortal; and around Horton comfortable houses, so old-fashioned, and the remembrance of the tender love and yet so attractive in their appearance, were constancy of Evangeline will throw an built along the road, the neat gardens unfading lustre."

THE OLD MILL.

UNI
NDER the hill

Standeth the quiet mill.
Doep are the shadows that gather below

Under the dripping flume-
Dreamy the water's musical glow,

Down in the noonday gloom.

Many a year
The phebe hath builded here,
Morning and night froin the broken door

Chaunting her solemn strain,
She sits where the sunshine checkers the floor,

Singing of what has been.

[blocks in formation]

THE ENCHANTED MULE.

ALI
LL the readers of Putnam's Monthly al--and one not crammed down your

doubtless know something by hearsay throat with hæc fabula docet-teaching of romances of chivalry, and the more firmness, perseverance, courage, temperbookish, antiquity-loving part of them must ance and prudence, and this moral conhave smiled with mingled pleasure and veyed in a story, which, in spite of the surprise, over some of the most noted of essential incredibility of its every incident the more modern among those charmingly and no one expects you to believe it, preposterous, and yet truthful productions is a model of simple, direct and vivid narof antiquity. We will not apologize to ration. If you cannot find all this in the either of these classes for presenting them work of our story-teller, we are sorry with a translation of one of the most an- for you, and can only hope for the sharpcient stories of romance and chivalry ening of your wits, and the improvement known to us. It was written in the

of your taste, from the faithful perusal of eleventh century by Paysans de Maisieres, the pages of Putnam's Monthly, of the a French fablier of that period. It is in ministrations of which you are plainly in verse, and in the langue d'oil, -that need. dialect which drove out the langue d'oc, At the Feast of Pentecost, King Arthur* or provençale, in which the troubadours held open court at the royal city of Carwrote, and became the language of all duel ; f and all the noble ladies, the great France. It is worthy of remark, in pass- barons and knights in his kingdom, were ing, that many words of this old langue there. On the second day, as they rose from d'oil, which faded from the memory of table, they saw far off upon the plain a Frenchmen hundreds of years ago, exist woman, who appeared to be coming toward in our language, and are used at this day the castle, and who was mounted upon a with little variation from their old forms. mule without bit or bridle. This awakened This tale has been paraphrased in English their curiosity. The king, the queen, verse in Mr. Way's metrical translation every body, ran to the windows; and of tales from the collection of Fabliau.x each one, in the endeavor to solve the ou Contes, made by M. Le Grand d’Aussy; mystery, ventured a conjecture. When but it is only by a translation at once the maiden had arrived at the gate, they faithful and idiomatic, such as we have saw that she was young and very beautiattempted to give, that the spirit and ful. The knights all flew to meet her; graphic power of the old fablier can be they assisted her to dismount, and noticed preserved.

Some readers may regard that her cheeks were wet with tears, and the tale as puerile, fit only for the enter- that her countenance was full of sorrow. tainment of very young children, and Having been brought before the king, may wonder how a man could write such she saluted him respectfully, and, drying trivial extravagance, and yet more, how her eyes, prayed him to pardon her for men could listen to it and preserve it; coming to trouble him with her griefs; and, last and most, how a man who has but the bridle of her mule had been stolen travelled on a railway, read news sent by from 'her; and from that day she had magnetic telegraph, and seen a Bloomer, wept, and found herself condemned to could spend his time in translating it for tears until it was recovered. Only the the August number of Putnam's Monthly, bravest of knights could retake and restore in the year 1853. Courteous reader, if it to her; and where should she seek such such be your thoughts on your first a hero but at the court of so great a king ? perusal of our story, we must beg you to She then begged King Arthur to allow read it once again, and look a little beneath some of the brave gentlemen who heard its surface of extravagant and fantastic her to interest themselves in her sorrow. incident; and if you cannot find a mor- She assured the knight who consented to

* The King Arthur of the old French and English romances is the same monarch who

“stole three pecks of barley meal

To make a bag pudding." This exploit is equally veritable with all the others attributed to him. He is entirely a creation of the English romances, who called him and his peers into being as companions and counterbalances to Charlemagne and his paladins, the heroes of France.

† The old romancers assigned four royal cities to King Arthur, Carlisle, Caradigan, Caramalot, where was the famous round table, and Carduel. There were the scenes of most of the adventures related of him and his twelve followers. ‘Open court” was held three or four tirnes yearly by the kings of the middle ages, who were at other times shut up in their castles like any other lords of the soil in those days. At these open courts it was the privilege of any one of the monarch's subjects to present himself and be received according to his degree.

become her champion, that he would be rible when the poor seneschal had passed conducted to the place of combat by her into it, and when surrounded by serpents, mule; and for the reward of his bravery, scorpions, and dragons belching flames

, he she promised publicly to become his went on only by the lurid light of these mistress.

infernal fires. Around him tempests All offered themselves, and contended howled, torrents roared with the voice of for the honor of the adventure; but the thunder, and mountains heaved up and seneschal Queux* spoke first, and it was down in horrible confusion; and though but right to accept his services. He the air was colder, icier than that of a swore to bring back the bridle, if it were thousand winters together, the sweat at the end of the world. But before he rolled in streams from his body. He started, he demanded a kiss from the passed safely through the dreadful place, maiden, as an earnest of his recompense- in spite of all its perils, the mule being his 6 on account,” as the merchants say-and all-sufficient protector; and having gone stepped forward to take it. She utterly forward for some distance, he reached at refused any reward until he returned with last a river, wide and deep, over which the bridle; and promised him then not there was no bridge, and on whose dark only what he asked, but greater guerdon waters he saw no boat; only from side to beside. Queux was obliged to be content- side stretched a single bar of iron. Queux, ed with her word; and arming himself, faint-hearted, and forgetful of the safety he departed, letting the mule choose its secured to him in former danger by the way, as she had advised him.

animal on which he rode, seeing, as he Queux, although the foster brother of thought, no means of crossing the river, King Arthur, and his standard-bearer and gave up the adventure and turned back. seneschal, was a great braggart, a slander- But, unfortunately, he had to repass the ous-tongued fellow, and though always valley and the forest. The serpents, lions, quarrelling, was always heaten. He was and monsters rushed again upon him with ever ready to undertake that which, as it a seeming frenzy of delight, and would proved, he had not the ability to perform; have devoured him a thousand times, and was more than suspected of being could they have done it without touching something of a coward. He had hardly the mule. entered the forest when troops of half- When the knights and ladies saw him starved lions, tigers, and leopards rushed, afar off from the castle, they began to foaring terribly, to devour him. Then

laugh. The knights assembled in the poor Queux repented sorely of his indis- court-yard, as if to receive him with great creet boasting; and would, with all the honor: King Arthur came himself, and heart he had left, have renounced all the proposed to conduct him to receive the kisses in the world to be well out of his promised kiss: all, in a word, ladies and danger. But when the ferocious animals gentlemen, ridiculed him without mercy ; recognised the mule, they fell down before and the unhappy seneschal, not knowing it to lick its feet, and then turned back how to answer them, and not daring to into the wood.

raise his eyes, disappeared and hid himAt the end of the forest was a valley so self. dark, so deep, so black, that the bravest The maiden was yet more troubled than man could not venture into it without a he. Abandoning herself to despair, she shudder. And it was yet far more hor- wept bitterly and tore her hair. The

* This Queux, as the reader will gather from what follows, was the butt of King Arthur's court. He is almost always made by the romancers the first to attempt an offered adventure, in which he never succeeds, and his failure in which acts as a foil to the brilliant achievement of some more fortunate and deserving and less-boastful knight. He appears in the Boy and the Mantle, which will be found in Percy's Reliques, and in which his name is transformed into Kay. There comes to Carlisle a "kind courteous child” who had a mantle which no lady who, as a wife, had “once done amisse.” Queen Guenever first assayed to wear it by virtue of her rank, which according to the test was the only virtue she possessed; for

" When shee had taken the mantle

Shee stood as shee had beene madd;
It was from the top to the toe

As sheeres had itt shread.

One while it was gule ;

another while it was greene," &c. Consequently the lady, like the mantle, was dreadfully cut up and turned all sorts of colors. Nothing daunted and not waiting for any other trial “Kay called forth his ladye,

When she had tane the mantlo
And bade her come neere;

and cast it her about;
Saies, Madam, and thou be guiltye

Then was shee bare
I pray thee hold the there

Before all the rout.
Forth came his ladye

Then ever knight
shortlye and anon;

that was in the kinges court, Boldlye to the mantle

Talked, laughed and showted then is shee gone.

full oft at that sport."

Thus it was always with Queux; and Queux is not dead yet.

brave knight, Gauvain, was touched with dwarf disappeared without an answer. her grief. He approached, and with mod- The knight went on his way through the est confidence offered her the service of vast and fearful solitude of the castle, and his sword, and promised to dry her tears; soon saw a giant, hideous to look upon, but, like poor Queux, he would have a come from a cavern; his hair bristling as kiss in advance. The dangers of the ad- if with rage, and armed with a huge batventure were now known, and the grief of tle-axe. Gauvain waited quietly to disthe lovely lady increased tenfold, and be- cover the giant's intention, when the latside, how could she refuse so gallant a ter, instead of attacking, or even berating knight, whose oft-tried bravery inspired him, applauded his courage, but pitied such confidence. The kiss was granted, him for undertaking an adventure, the and Gauvain mounted the mule and left issue of which could not but be fatal, and the castle.

from which the terrible iron palisade outThe same dangers through which poor side the castle should have deterred him. Queux passed, again presented themselves; Nevertheless, he offered the knight his Gauvain only laughed at them. The ser- services, gave him food, treated him well,. pents and the lions came out to fall upon and showed him the chamber where he him; he drew his sword and gave them was to sleep. But before going out, he battle. But there was no need; the mon- ordered the hero to strike off his head, sters, kneeling again before the mule, went saying that he should come in the morning quietly away. At last he arrived at the to do the same thing for his guest in turn. river, saw the bar of iron stretching from Gauvain immediately drew his sword, side to side, and knowing that there was struck, and the giant's head rolled at his no other means of passing the dreadful wa- feet. What was his surprise at seeing the ters, and that his way lay across them, he monster pick it up, put it upon his shoulcommended himself to God, and tried ders, and stalk off! Nevertheless, as he the perilous bridge. It was so narrow knew that he should need all his wits and that the mule could hardly set half its all his strength on the morrow, he went 'foot upon it. The moment that Gauvain

to bed and slept tranquilly, undisturbed began the passage, the black waters broke by fear of coming danger. At break of into foaming waves, which heaved and day the giant came with his axe to fulfil roared all around him, as if to sweep his promise. He woke the knight, and him away, and swallow him up; but he according to the conditions stated to him was immovable, and arrived safely upon on the day before, ordered him to present the opposite bank.

his head. Gauvain, sure that nothing There, he found a strong castle, before could be gained by refusal or hesitation, which stood a row of four hundred iron instantly bent his neck. It was but a stakes, each of which, with one exception, trial of his courage. The giant, instead bore upon its point a bloody head; this of striking off Gauvain's head, praised one, yet bare, seemed to be waiting for its and embraced him. The knight then horrible decoration. The fortress, sur- asked whither he should go to find the rounded by deep moats, which were filled bridle, and what he must do to obtain it. by a foaming torrent, turned round as ‘You will know before the day is over," if upon a pivot, like a gigantic millstone. was the answer, “but summon all your It had, besides, no drawbridge, and seemed courage; you never needed it more. to deny to Gauvain any opportunity to At mid-day, Gauvain presented himself display his valor. He, nevertheless, de- at the place of combat, and found there termined to wait, hoping that the castle, an enormous lion, foaming, gnawing his in one of its revolutions, would offer him chain, and tearing up the earth with his some sort of entrance; and determined, at claws. At the sight of his adversary, all events, to perish on the spot, if it did the savage beast broke into a fearful roar, not; rather than to return with disgrace. bristling his enormous mane; his chain And finally, a door did open; he spurred fell from him and he threw himself upon his mule, which at one bound cleared the Gauvain, whose coat of mail he tore open enormous moat, and he found himself at the first bound. They fought long within the walls of the castle.

and furiously, but the lion was killed. Here every thing seemed to indicate a Another, yet larger and more savage, was recent desolation. The courts and passages let loose; but he perished like the first. were empty, no one looked from the gap- Gauvain, seeing no other enemy appear. ing windows, and on all sides was solitude demanded the bridle; but the giant, withand a deathlike silence. A dwarf finally out answering, led him to his chamber. came out and looked closely at the knight. There he made him eat to recover his Gauvain asked him who was his lord or strength, and soon afterward led him belady; where they might be found, and fore another opponent. what they expected him to do. The This was a formidable knight; the

« ZurückWeiter »